This surname of BATISTICH was a French medieval given name, derived from the distinguishing epithet of St. John the Baptist, who baptized people, including Christ himself, in the river Jordan, and was later beheaded by Herod. The name was originally from the Latin word BAPTISTA, meaning 'to dip, to wash'. The name has many variant spellings which include BAPSTIST, BATTISTA, BATTISTE, BATTISTI, BATTISTONI, and BATISTELLI. The earliest French hereditary surnames are found in the 12th century, at more or less the same time as they arose in England, but they are by no means common before the 13th century, and it was not until the 15th century that they stabilized to any great extent; before then a surname might be handed down for two or three generations, but then abandoned in favour of another. In the south, many French surnames have come in from Italy over the centuries, and in Northern France, Germanic influence can often be detected. During the 17th century surnames were brought to Britain, North America and southern Africa by French Huguenot exiles. The Huguenots were French Protestants, and in 1572 large numbers of them were massacred in Paris on the orders of Queen Catherine de'Medici. Many of the survivors sought refuge in England and elsewhere. Although the Edict of Nantes (1598) officially guaranteed religious toleration, persecution continued, and the Edict was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685. It was then the trickle of emigration became a flood. Many migrated to England, while others joined groups of Dutch Protestants settling around the Cape of Good Hope. Others sailed across the Atlantic to establish themselves in North America. The earliest of the name on record in England mention John BAPTYSSE, who was recorded in the year 1551 in London, and John BAPTYSTE appears in London in 1552. John BAPTIST was buried at St. John The Baptist Church, Walbrook, in 1772, and John BAPTIST and Abigail Fielder, were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1772. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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